Sunday, Aug. 16, 2009 | 6:31 p.m.
When each episode of Top Chef wraps and the judges send one chef packing, the culinary conversation is far from finished. It continues around water coolers at the office and with friends over lunch, but there’s one problem implicit in our railing against foam faux pas or gushing over MacGyvered hibachis: We weren’t there. Ultimately, Top Chef is about taste and experience, and no matter how amazing that sous vide short rib looks, we can’t taste it. We can’t even smell it. We don’t even get an itsy bitsy nibble, just to try it, ya know.
But after the clogs come off – OK, some of the chefs probably wear their Crocs in and out of the kitchen – the blogs begin. Every season, judges and past contestants take to the computer to weigh in on the current competition on Bravotv.com. From laying into the chef’testants for making rookie mistakes – if you’ve never tried to roast venison, now is probably not the time to start – to complimenting their inventiveness on the grill, the blogs extend the conversation around each episode and take it from the water cooler to the watering hole. Hundreds of comments pile up on the more interesting posts, with the bloggers adding an educated point of view to the viewing experience, whether it’s from a chef who’s been through the culinary battle or a judge who actually had to swallow that poorly conceived halibut mousse.
This year’s bloggers are Season 1 winner Harold Dieterle, faux-hawked runner-up Richard Blais, San Diego chef Brian Malarkey, Season 5’s Jamie Lauren and judges Gail Simmons and Tom Colicchio.
So, when Colicchio compares the chefs in the Season 5 finale to incredibly diverse jazz musician Branford Marsalis in his blog, you can nod sagely, and think, “Yea, that’s what I was going to say.” Go ahead and borrow the analogy for your own Top Chef office debate, just be sure to give the bald guy credit.